Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheney Madness Watch - Part 666

At the best of times what Dick Cheney says bears little resemblance to the reality that most of us know but, as Glenn Greenwald observes, Cheney's insistence on anonymity in this case is just bizarre.

The interview Cheney gave to pool reporters on his plane yesterday as it returned home from Afghanistan is striking in several respects. Initially, as Dan Froomkin notes, Cheney demanded that journalists not identify him by name when reporting on the interview (but instead refer to him only as a "senior administration official"), even though Cheney himself makes unmistakably clear in the transcript that it is him.

In fact, the very first words out of his mouth were: "The reason the President wanted me to come, obviously, is because of the continuing threat that exists in this part of the world." He discussed at length the comments he made recently about Nancy Pelosi wanting to "validate Al Qaeda's strategy. So even though there was not a single security reason for the anonymity, Cheney insisted upon it anyway. The official White House transcript (linked above) refers to him only as a "senior administration official," and reporters were required to identify him only as such.

Cheney's petty demand that he not be identified -- like a petty tyrant's demand that his name never pass anyone's lips -- is just an assertion of secrecy and authoriatarian power for its own sake (even under the rule of Emperor Hirohito, "commoners were no longer forbidden to speak his name or look at his face"). But unlike Hirohito, Cheney is an elected public servant of American citizens and this attempt to prohibit journalists from attributing his own words to him is just bizarrely megalomaniacal and contemptuous, particularly in light of how he virtually went out of his way in the very first sentence to make clear that it was him.

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